Paradise Beach, Port Ottercrest
[Z2_ARC-10] RV-01 Fun in the Sun
By Darrel Vanwinkle (Lord Pouchlaw)
As the overland transit bus from Meta-Star City pulled to a stop in the seaside community of Port Ottercrest, a small family with one suitcase each disembarked from the vehicle with their father the last to get off. The bus then made a slow circle in the center of town and began the drive back the way it had come from. The family then began walking through the town toward the docks a few blocks away. It wasn't a hot day although a topic was slowly being inquired about.
"Dad?" asked the middle aged son. "I thought the bus was supposed to have delivered us directly to the Paradise Beach Ferry. Why did they let us off in the middle of town?"
"The driver said that the bus no longer made the full route to the docks," replied their dad. "But think of it... even though it took our entire life savings, we actually own an island getaway of our very own. I never thought we could afford one when Lord Albert's commercials began airing the ads for real world people to own parts of Q.C. Planet as an investment. I was lucky to meet that land broker who had selections of the planet for sale. And now we just have to get there and set up shop in the island resort hotel. Although I hope I get to do my chosen profession of meteorology while we're here. Resorts are all well and good, but I really like chasing the weather."
After a block, the middle aged son said, "Hey dad! Look!" He was pointing at a travel agency window where they had a picture of the island resort on one of their walls. "Isn't that the picture you showed us before we packed up our bags and after selling the house and car?"
The father looked through the window at the poster. "Yeah, that's the same picture. Why do you ask?"
The son said, "I want to go inside and ask the clerk how far the island is so we'll have some idea of how long the ferry ride will be."
"Okay son," said their father. "We'll wait out here. Don't take too long."
Entering the small business office, the boy saw that it was carpeted, clean, and had a nice citrus scent in the air. Sitting at the main desk was nice looking otter in a business suit and wearing dark shades over his eyes.
"What can I help you with today, son?" asked the otter dude.
He pointed at the one picture. "That place. How far is it by the ferry?"
The otter slowly lowered his shades when the boy pointed at that one poster. "P-p-para-dise B-b-beach? You want to know about that location?"
The boy replied, "Of course. My family just purchased it. We're the new owners. We need to know where it is."
The otter slowly stood up and walked over to place one hand on the boy's shoulder. "Your family... bought... Paradise Beach... good gods... you poor people. I better get your family in here right now." And he quickly stepped outside and asked the entire family to come inside.
Once he had the whole family inside and seated, the otter went over to the poster and pulled it down off the wall and... promptly ripped it in half and handed the pieces to the father. "I hate to say this, good sir... but you have been swindled by a con artist."
"A con artist?" asked the father. "What do you mean?"
The otter dude turned and walked over to his desk and sat down behind it and reached for his phone. "Paradise Beach was an island resort with a dormant volcano in the middle of it... two whole years ago. Everyone loved vacationing there. That poster was made in January of that year. In November... the volcano began rumbling. The people vacated and then... the entire island... exploded."
The family looked shocked.
The otter continued as he began dialing a number. "By December... the authorities evaluated what was left... a series of small islands around the former volcano... which had become an... an atoll. You people have purchased an atoll. In the following year, various groups migrated out to the individual islands to live. The only island remaining that is uninhabited was once part of the original Paradise Beach. It now has a lighthouse and an old watchman's shack there. That's it." He then focused on the phone call while the family hung their heads at the realization of what they bought.
End of Chapter 01
Chapter 02Lord Albert Atticus and the mayor of Port Ottercrest had converged on the travel agency to meet with the family who had fallen for one of the oldest tricks on Earth. The travel agent, Tan Wavewebber, felt sorry for the family since it was one of the worst ways to meet nice people. When he saw Lord Albert arriving, he drew the cat lord to one side.
"They are the Valerian family. They told me that a land broker claimed to be working for you and he sold them Paradise Beach for a price far less than you were selling land for, but still enough to wipe out this family of all of their finances. They traveled here to see their purchase and... their son saw the poster I had and came in and that's when I learned about their situation. But sir... I don't want these people to leave. So I have an idea that you could do for them, if you will."
"I'm listening, Tan," said Albert. "What's your idea?"
The otter showed Albert a picture of the island and a map of the old island boundaries. "My plan is to recreate a new island in the center of the atoll. One where the sand bar only connects under the water to the lighthouse island. This new island would be identical to the old one except it would be smaller in land mass, so as to leave a waterway between it and the outer laid smaller islands. We rebuild the resort on the central island and let the family live there as the owners of not only that island, but of the entire atoll nation. Make Mr. Valerian the governor of the new island nation; the other island owners answer to him instead of answering to you. You would then get island updates from him. But Mr. Valerian has one more skill going for him that this area needs, Albert... he is a professional meteorologist and we don't have one in our area at all. The weather forecasters at the major cities always misdiagnose the weather we are supposed to get so having Mr. Valerian here would guarantee us with accurate weather, which our fishing otter captains desperately need."
Albert hummed as he then went over to speak to the family now. "Mr. Valerian? I am Lord Albert Atticus. I promise you that we will find this land broker and make him pay for this crime against your family. The travel otter, Tan Wavewebber, came up with an idea that I will conduct for your family. You bought Paradise Beach based on a photo and that is exactly what you will get. A whole new island created from scratch and placed in the middle of the atoll. And it will not be a volcano. It will look exactly as the island had that you thought you were purchasing. We will rebuild the resort and you will become the governor of the entire atoll nation. Although I am told you are also a meteorologist. This area needs a good reliable one badly. I hope you will assist these people."
Mr. Valerian stood up and shook Albert's furry hand. "Thank you, Mr. Atticus. I am Joseph Valerian. This is my wife Margarita Divita Valerian; she's Mexican and a good entertainer. And these are our children... Steven, Rob, and Arcadia. Ages 18, 16, and 15. I... I just feel so stupid for getting... cheated like that. He said he worked for you and even had official looking forms with your signature on them showing his authenticity. I guess they were forged, like everything else was. We're flat broke, sir. How will we survive at the resort? We can't afford to buy supplies for vacationers let alone for ourselves. What do we do?"
The Port Ottercrest Mayor then came over and said, "As long as you join our local news team and give accurate weather forecasts for the area, we will gladly donate weekly supplies for your island until such a time that you can support yourselves. I am Mayor Turk Deepdiver. Just call me Turk. Everyone does. I even put on a turkey costume around Thanksgiving." He winked with a otter grin.
Albert said, "By tomorrow morning, you will have your island, Joseph Valerian. I need to get busy. I will also need to warn the current island residents of what is about to happen. And once I do, you may find even more assistance. Most are honest island folk, although... I will warn you now... the island with the carnival on top of it belongs to Lord Lampwick. You know the place."
Rob and Steven said at the same time, "Pleasure Island is part of our atoll?" They looked at each other and both said, "Jinx! You owe me a soda! Hey!"
Tan smirked. "Kinda hard to owe anyone any sodas when you boys are broke. Part time jobs may be your friends in the days to come. Be thinking about it." He then looked at Arcadia. "Although if the young lady here would like to help me here in my business, I can pay her a fair wage."
Arcadia looked to her parents. "May I?"
Joseph nodded his head. "We can't be picky what with the situation we're in. You have my permission."
Tan smiled. "Excellent. Come on over to my desk and I'll walk you through what you need to do." And Arcadia went over to see what the otter wanted her to do.
Steven and Rob stepped outside of the travel agency to look at the surroundings. It was Steven who spoke first, "I think I would like to meet the other island residents, Rob. Maybe one of them may have a job boys like us could do for pay. We got to chip in and help mom and dad."
End of Chapter 02